The beginning of June marks two years of operating in the Dominican Republic for Edify. Coincidentally, this past month, Edify and it’s lending partners, surpassed the $2,000,000 mark in lending to low-cost, Christian schools in the Dominican Republic. Between our two microfinance partners, ASPIRE and Esperanza International, we have given 458 loans to over 350 schools. Providing loans is one of the three principal aspects of what Edify does in addition to providing training to teachers and school proprietors and access to materials and resources they may not otherwise have such as quality curriculum or computer labs.
All businesses need capital to operate; private schools are no exception. Whether that capital comes from internal operations, friends and family, a loan or very commonly a combination of all these. Edify, in the Dominican Republic, provides loans in the $800 to $20,000 range (occasionally doing larger loans on a case by case basis) with an average loan size of $6,100. The capital may be used for a number of purposes such as building new classrooms or bathrooms, remodeling existing infrastructure, paving a playground, installing a computer lab, purchasing books, uniforms, desks or other school needs.
While these schools usually only charge between $5-$30 per month per student they are still able to operate sustainably. This is key because it allows them to sustain their families and access more capital to grow and improve their schools. School owners will meet with a loan officer and undergo a thorough vetting process to ensure that they are not being encumbered with debt that they won’t be able to repay from the schools income. They are able to get a loan because they demonstrate that they have the ability to meet the monthly payments. To date, Edify’s partners have a 100% repayment rate. Not only does this number look good on paper, more importantly, it signifies that lending to low-cost schools to help them reach their goals is financially viable and the impact that affordable private schools can have in the developing world is nearly limitless.
We celebrate two years of lending in the Dominican and look forward to reaching many more schools and many more students to help provide the best Christ-centered education possible.